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this point is to make sure that those devices are rendered safe and removed. again, all of the hostages were -- got out safely. i don't believe that there is any injuries but we will confirm that once we get a chance to -- to talk at more length with the hostages. again, we also have to clear the rest of the building. where we could see the suspect, we know it's clear, but there is further area on the first floor of the building that has not been checked yet so obviously we still have more to do, but at this point the suspect is in custody. i do not know his condition at this point. and the three hostages that we could see that were near the suspect have been safely
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removed. >> why did you shoot him? any time there is use of deadly force by police officers, it's a long investigation and that will go through the investigative process. >> based on the information that we had, we believe that it was -- that the hostages' lives were in danger. >> where was he shot? >> i don't know the answer to that? >> [ inaudible ] >> i don't know the order in which he went down and the explosive device went off. >> was he becoming more agitated? >> we were talking to him for several hours and he had a wide range of emotions during the discussions. >> and what was the [ inaudible ] of the discovery building? >> i don't have all of that information but i know that he had some history with the folks
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at discovery channel and i believe in fact that there -- that he was arrested here a couple of years ago and so we -- there is some history between he and the discovery folks i don't have any information on the condition suspect. i don't have any information on the condition of the suspect. it was just a few minutes before the shooting happened. >> what time did the shooting happen? >> 4:48. >> and what other devices are there in the building? >> there are other devices that we suspect may be explosive devises and we don't know why -- they are in backpacks and we don't know who brought them in, what they are. we suspect he may have brought
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them in so we have to render it safe before the operation is over. i don't know the suspect's condition. >> but you know he's in custody? >> he's in custody. >> was he alive when you took him out? >> i don't know the condition of the suspect at this point. >> is he on the way to the hospital or is he there? >> i -- i don't believe we've removed him from the building. again the building is not safe because of the devices that we have not rendered safe in that area. >> was more than one person involved with the backpacks? >> this is -- the investigative part of this is just beginning and there is a lot of information we need to go through and we'll have another briefing when we get more information. >> chief, are the hostages male or female?
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>> you've been listening to a press conference. some dramatic discoveries and developments. we now understand that james lee apparently has been shot, or the man that we believe is james lee apparently has been shot. apparently they believe that the three hostages taken into custody, their lives were in some danger and we're told that an explosive device did go off. but what we have not been able to confirm is whether or not the person who was shot, the person named james lee, was taken out alive, was taken out at all, is alive or dead, and we have not been able to determine the condition of this man. >> and the police are saying it's an unsafe condition because of other devises in backpacks around the building, looking at those in the lobby area. they were able to get to the three hostages. they are near the lobby. after long discussions, again something must have made them believe this is an unsafe situation or rapidly becoming so, so at 4:48 that changed and
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some altercation occurred and the suspect james lee was shot. his condition, they will not confirm that or if he's even been taken out of the building. >> and chief major did make a point to say they still need to clear the rest of the building and make sure the building is safe because as anita just mentioned, they believe there are other devises still in the building. they think that the hostage taker, believed to be james lee, probably brought them in but they just don't know. >> derek mcginty has been down there since shortly after the standoff began and he's live there at the scene to anchor from there. derek, fill us in on what you know. >> reporter: well it's been an afternoon unlike any other here in downtown silver spring. frankly there's never been anything like this. as you heard minutes ago, this thing basically seems to have come to an abrupt end. at 4:48 this afternoon, according to montgomery county police, they shot the suspect. why did she shoot him?
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apparently he was becoming more agitated. they believed the hostages were in danger. they said when they shot him a explosive device went off. and they weren't able to tell us anything with the size of the blast but there was concern that perhaps backpacks brought in by the suspect are still in the building and thru -- and therefore the building is not safe. the only thing that is safe are the hostages. they say as of now there is no injuries there. and they have to clean the building out. they told us he's in custody. does that mean he's in custody? is he in the hospital? is he on the floor of the discovery channel building? we don't know. and we have been following the story, as you know, from the very beginning. delia gonsalves is with me now on the latest of what we found as the day has move add long. >> derek, still a lot of
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questions unanswered but good news to report, that the three hostages who were inside since 1:00 on the lobby level with this gunman are now safe. the chief tells us there was a range of emotions when they were talking with this gunman, negotiating with him, hoping for a peaceful end to this hostage situation. we do know they felt like the hostages lives were threatened and so they did shoot and in injure the suspect. it did happen at 1:00 and now at 4:48 it came to an end. >> i need all pedestrians to clear this block immediately. >> excuse us. >> reporter: chaos outside of the discovery channel in silver spring about 1:00 p.m. a gunman entered the lobby waving a handgun and bombs strapped to his chest. hundreds of employees are evacuated and nearby buildings are locked down. dozens of children from the day
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care strolled out in their cribs or in the arms of anxious parents. >> what day care are you coming from? >> horizon in the discovery building. >> one lady came to me and said do not go to the lobby. there are some cops out there. >> we heard reports there was a gunman in there. we waited and then they instructed us to evacuation. >> we did have a protestor, i think it was last year, but i have no idea if this is related to that. >> reporter: no one was injured. >> i'm glad to see the people got evacuated and everything is okay. >> reporter: and they told you to go home? >> they told us to go home. >> and you left without a purse or money or anything in. >> we're going to get on the metro and go home. >> we're trying to get him to release the hostages and surrender peacefully. >> reporter: and of course the goal was for that gunman to
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surrender peacefully, however we learned five hours into the hostage situation, the gunman was shot. his condition is unknown but we do know that the three hostages are safe and i'm sure, derek, there are a lot of folks home who have been monitoring the coverage, very relieved. 1900 employees here, and very relieved that their loved ones and co workers are safe. >> no doubt. and they told us they're a close-knit group here. and they have fun here and we don't want anybody to get hurt. they'll be relieved to know the hostages are safe. but what about the gunman? who was he and what was he after? these are things the police have not been willing to talk to us about. brett haber is live in the studio about that. >> there is a sketch coming together of james lee that portrays a 43-year-old man who claims to be an environmentalist but whose concerns about the environment
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has been manifested, some would say irrational, focus on television, in particular the discovery channel and the associated network. we have a photo of lee at a protest outside of discovery channel back in 2008. lee was arrested that day for disorderly conduct and littering. because lee actually threw money on to the street to attract people to his protest. this is you tube video of that incident with dozens of people scrambling to pick up the cash. newspaper accounts from 2008 suggest that lee paid homeless people that day to give the appearance of a more robust crowd at his rally. so what, you may ask, is his beef? it appears his believe is discovery channel is not addressing the issues of sustainability and overpopulation and immigration among many, many other issues. lee repoliced arabling 1100 page manifest owen titled save
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the planet. he outlines 11 demands. they are not demands for money or material goods, but they are all demands for programs on discovery channel that would address a variety of what he believes are issues facing civilization. after the 11th and final demand, lee writes, quoting, humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet. he is quoting a book called my ishmael by daniel quinn. lee claims to have been influenced by former vice president al gore's oscar winning documentary about the
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environment and in convenient truth. who is he? on his myspace page he is 5-11, single, atheist and his home state is hawaii but records show he's spent time living in both california, and here in the washington, d.c. metro, specifically in a homeless shelter in silver spring, just blocks from the discovery headquarters where today's events unfolded. according to police reports, lee was sentenced to spend time in a mental institution stemming from his 2008 disorderly conduct arrest but reports indicate he never did so. tmz reports that he spent 14 days in a montgomery county jail and was released on two you'res of supervised probation, probation that ended just two weeks ago. >> thank you, brett haber. and one of the ironies about this is that when people think that channels are in favor of the earth, discovery
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would come to mind. mr. lee had a different idea. and for more on him and perhaps who knew him and who he may have talked to, we go to lindsey mastis at the building where he lived. lindsey. >> reporter: that's right. i was at the building where he lived. i'm now in front of the movie theater but he did live a few blocks away in a homeless shelter. it was called community vision of interface works and there are several nonprofit organizations in that building so basically i was told by a couple of people who knew him that he was always known to be a big champion of animal rights. what we were told by two people who used to know him, they think something happened and he took his argument a little too far. >> well he just don't like the way that the discovery channel treat animals, the way they neglect them and stuff like that. i mean he used to be up there and he came into a lot of money
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and he would pay people to protest every day for like three months and have them do essays about hunger in the world and how they treat the animals and things like that. he would give us stacks of $1 bills and write an essay, and if you win he would give you $1,000. >> i know him as being a nice person and he was against animal cruelty. especially the dolphins killing and the whale killing. he was against that and he was a protestor. >> reporter: and that was willard inclusive and larry hancock. i asked them if they were shocked. they were surprised. but they said looking back at lee's history, although they were surprised it happened, they did know that there was something wrong and something had been wrong for a while. now we asked the community vision of interface works if they had a comment or could tell us anything about lee.
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they're declining to comment at this time. i'm lindsey mastis, 9 news now. >> lindsey mastis, thank you for that. and as we know, this whole episode has been a real disaster for downtown silver spring itself. the entire area has been gridlocked. first of all blocked off to traffic and therefore the side streets have just been overburdened with traffic as folks are trying to get home when the two main arteries, georgia and colesville have been blocked off. let's move on to patranya to tell us how this is playing out. she's in the traffic center. >> it's 5:15 in the afternoon and it will be a mess as people head home or try to head home. as derek said, georgia avenue and route 29, colesville road, main arteries from d.c. through downtown silver spring up north. and right now that area is a mess as we zoom into the problem spot area right in downtown silver spring. as this breaking news unfolds.
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all of the road closures still remain in tact as police try to kind of get this area under control for now. so we want to tell you where to avoid. right now georgia avenue is shut down between cameron and eastern avenue. columbia pike, route 29, closed between 410 and fenton. fenton street near the area, this is where the bail out traffic is going. near 16th and fenton, all of this bailout traffic will affect your commute home. but no accidents or incidents reported. right now a lot of traffic control officers out there trying to give folks detour and visible signs around. avoid the pedestrians on the streets right now, you will be in good shape. the good news is the silver spring metro station has been working. all trains are running on time on the redline, you just have to get in through the colesville road entrance, not wayne street.
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that entrance is shut down. as you see a lot of police presence still in the area of downtown silver spring, a good idea to avoid for now. we'll be back with more traffic in a little bit. for now back to you. >> thank you for that. and as we heard early, this fellow worried about cruelty to animals, but cruelty to people not so much concerned because people around here have been dealing with a rough afternoon, especially the employees inside the discovery building who were rushed out, evacuated, cars locked inside. some distraction for them today. and we have been chatting with the folks dealing with this in a very personal way. gary? >> reporter: right now we're at fenton and ellsworth. this is roped off here at fenton. many people evacuated came down ellsworth and into the camera lense of bruce johnson at 9 news now. >> everybody at the sidewalk, go back on that side.
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>> reporter: some employees came straight down ellsworth which ends at georgia in front of the discovery building. reporter bruce johnson learned that some employees had been trained on what to do. >> we just see people running around and we got official confirmation from discovery that everyone needs to leave and we were escorted out. >> who escorted you out? >> security. >> so stay in place until security gets here. >> they started announcing within the building, then they took us to the garage. >> and do you guys work on staying in place and then security comes to get you. >> reporter: some knew something was going on but didn't know what. >> what happened? >> they said somebody is in the lobby with a gun. so everyone should evacuate. >> did you see or hear anything? >> no: everyone is rushing around the lobby but i didn't
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see anything. >> reporter: many employees had gone to lunch and didn't find out what happened until they returned. >> i was in the lobby near the atrium. i was on my way to a meeting at 1:00. and about that time i was told that there was a gunman in the lobby, that we should all evacuate. >> reporter: and when you evacuate, you at least know what to do. many people who are three blocks away didn't know what to do because streets and buses are closed down. we talked to one kid from blair high school who said he got out of school after 2:00, well more than an hour after this began and believe the school should have told students what they were getting into this part of town and the students didn't know what was going on when they left school and thinks it is something the school district should have addressed. as you look up ellsworth right now, the repercussions, all of
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these businesses closed and shut down. we talked to a woman would came here for this afternoon job and said i don't know what to do, my restaurant is closed and i don't know if i'll get paid today. and as you can see, traffic is a mess as many streets are closed down. keep an eye on it and we'll get back to you soon. >> and gary, a lot of very mundane and ordinary concerns on a very unordinary day. i've talked to some people here with a disbelief that discovery is such a nice place. who would do this to us? did you get that sense? >> i absolutely do. particularly with people who lived in silver spring for a long time. this is a community that has more than its fair share of problems, waiting for county government to come through with promise after promise to redevelop silver spring and push the crime out of here and make it a safe place to be during the working day and as this part of the county tries
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to attract folks to live in the area. many said that has been a large success over the last five or six years. the issue and the fear of crime in this neighborhood has gone down substantially since the excessive renovation efforts. they began to feel safe here and this is a reminder of what it felt like ten years ago. >> gary nuremburg, thank you for that. and i'm going to recap what we have here today. it all started around 1:00 this afternoon, people in the discovery channel heard the news, they were told to leave their offices, barricade themselves, perhaps get on the floor. what had happened, a man, james lee, a suspect is suspected of going inside and waving and perhaps firing the gun, that's not yet been confirmed and police believe he carried bombs of some sort. a hostage standoff went on for a few hours. at 4:48 had this afternoon the suspect was shot and three hostages are free and safe as far as we know. we don't have any information yet on the condition of mr. lee. we do know police shot him.
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they said he was perhaps getting agitated and beginning to worry about the fate of the hostages. when he was shot, one of his incendiary devises or bombs or whatever you want to call it, went off and they saw some smoke. and they were still concerned that perhaps other smoking devices or bombs might be in the building, and hence this thing is not quite done yet. once again, mr. lee shot. the suspect, mr. lee shot and we don't know what his condition is. he could have been killed. that didn't rule that out. they said he's in custody. let's talk now to julianne gage who is a discovery person who was inside the building at the time. julian, you can hear me? are you there. >> yes, i'm here. you can hear me? >> yes. and you saw this thing go down. what happened and where were you and what did you see? >> well i came down this -- the
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elevator about five minutes i think after it probably started to go down. got down, was just about to walk into the lobby and head out the door to go to lunch when i saw people coming toward me with very concerned looks on their faces and they said there's an incident going on in the lobby so you need to get up here fast. and in this day of age we're so used to get places and i just ran up the elevator again and from the window, i could see the police were coming out with guns and lined up everywhere. now we were asked within a few minutes of that to go and hide in some closed offices with doors and lock the doors. some of us were hiding under desks. it was pretty alarming. >> alarming to say the least. did you have any idea -- when did you begin to have an idea that there was a hostage in the building or it would be evacuated? >> i first heard it and i thought there was a fire alarm
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but i did not hear the shots. i think that had gone on before i got on the first floor. but as soon as i got upstairs there was conversation of a couple of people being held hostage. we were concerned because we know the security guard and receptionist, they are just the most wonderful people, they greet us every morning and know us by name. we were worried about them first off. and then as they were moving us around and asking us to go from one floor to another, just in case, that's when i think we really started to get concerned about is this person loose in the rest of the building and how much farther is this going to expand. >> you talked about how nice the people are there at discovery and i heard that over and over again today, that there is a real friendship, a camaraderie among the staff and a lot of folks concerned, and especially because you have a day care center there with small children. >> yeah, we do. it's a family-oriented place to work. there has been -- all of the time there is great company
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spirit. people are always discussing ways to make the channel better, ways to make programming better. and so we're always trying to take the public concern to heart. so for somebody to go to these lengths to protest is unfortunate. there are other ways of protesting and getting your message across. >> and that's the thing, most of us think of tlc and discovery channel as environmentally friendly. did you have any idea there are folks that don't see you that way? >> every once in a while, just like every other channel, we get complaints about things but we have a team of people constantly watching to make sure that our coverage and our nonfiction coverage is as authentic and real and respectful as it can be. so it's pretty shocking when something like this happens because there are so many other ways to complain, if you need to. and i feel like we have a good team of workers that are
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looking to make our news and our documentaries as realistic and honest and socially conscious as possible. >> let me ask you one more thing and a appreciate you talking with us julianne, tomorrow is another work day. are you going back to work? what do you think? >> i still have my keys in the building so i'm not sure how i will get in my house tonight but i'll be back at the office tomorrow and maybe a little more shaken up. i definitely think we had all of the security measures in place as best as we could. this kind of thing could happen to anybody in any building and even when you have all of the measures in place. so just feeling jittery, but just really kind of excited to get back and see how everybody else is and make sure everybody is okay. >> thank you for your time tonight. rough day. we wish you best and hope you do find a way to get your keys so you can get in your house tonight. >> thank you, i appreciate it. >> i'm going to throw it back to lesli and anita who are updating other stories for us.
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>> derek, can we ask you a couple of more questions out there. >> absolutely. >> and julianne sort of crystalized what it's like. it's one thing to report and another thing to live it and talk about what this means for your friends and extended community there. i want to ask you, though, we've not been able to confirm whether james lee is alive or dead. have you seen anything near the building, around the building, that might suggest that somebody has been transported or should we assume that body is still inside? >> that's a very good question. and you know what, we have not. we've heard no sirens, we've seen no ambulance. we are actually in a place where we can kind of see. if you can focus up here for me, up here and see up the hill here, that's where the front of the building basically is, where you see the white vehicles up there. that's basically where the entrance is, where the circle is and we've seen no major change in that area. not heard any sirens, not got a
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sense that anybody has been transported at all. and so that's a very good question and i can't answer for sure but as far as whether we have seen it, i'm going to say the answer is no. >> but in the police conference, in case people missed it, we were told he was in custody. he was shot after becoming more agitated but after that nothing was revealed? >> no. we tried to press him on it. i asked the question, is he dead and they couldn't say yes or no to that question. so was he shot? where was he hit? how many times? what we were told is any time there is a use of deadly force there is an investigation and so there will be an investigation. but beyond that there wasn't any detail except to say that one of the explosive devices he had in a vest or a bag blew up and apparently it wasn't too horribly explosive because it didn't blow him up, apparently. but again, we're sort of left in the dark on that question. >> derek, we want to update you
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as we're getting information. because cbs news is confirming that the hostage-taker is dead. and so that would explain why you've not seen anything coming out of there, transporting anyone, because cbs is reporting that the hostage- taker, which we understand the name is james jay lee is in fact dead. >> well that will settle that, if that is indeed the case. they didn't need to transport him. and perhaps he died on the spot. maybe they didn't know that half an hour when they briefed us and were not able to give us the final word on that. later on i'm sure we'll see the police again and they can confirm or deny that piece of information. >> one last question, derek. they were talking about other backpacks or other devices they were concerned that they still needed to clear, give us a little bit more of that from the press conference? what were they concerned about? other devices or packages? >> well the information was
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spotty. it's like water torture drips and drabs of information. they said they were concerned about other devices that may have been brought in the building by him or someone else in backpacks. that's all they told us. and it may be they aren't anything? it may be errorring on the side of caution. and they said the building is not safe until they can rule out the fact there are no other bombs locating around the building and they weren't prepared to say that was the case when they talked to us at almost exactly at 5:00 which you saw live right here. >> all right, derek mcginty thank you for that. we are going back out to the scene, but we are showing you the shot of the discovery communication headquarters where a standoff has ended and the gunman apparently has died. three hostages that were in the lobby with him, we are understanding from montgomery county police today, are safe. again, this whole thing
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unfolded at 1:00 and things took a rapid change around 4:48 p.m. when again they believed that he was -- >> he was getting aggressive. >> there was more agitation and they were worried about the safety of the hostages and apparently that hostage-taker was shot and has died at the scene. >> and we are still not aware of many of the details that surround this, but in any hostage situation, its goal is to end the situation peacefully and have the person surrender and have the hostages go free. but in this case it seems police got some indication that there was concern that the hostages were indeed in danger. they apparently did shoot the suspect which we have learned his nam is james lee. they have not confirmed yet. and that all three hostages that were taken there are indeed safe. so this did end peacefully for the three people taken as hostages but the gunman is indeed dead. >> as we've been telling you all afternoon, james lee has a history of having problems with
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the discovery channel and has protested there before. police confirmed he's had a long history there. again, this is james lee. this is a picture he posted on a website where he expressed his problems with discovery and said cash cabs, dirty jobs, serve as diversions and he wanted the network to keep the focus on what he thinks is important, that would be global warning, extinction of animal and plant species and he had a real problem in some of the manifestos on the internet about overpopulation and what that has done to the world and very, very -- a lot of vitriol and the birth of new human beings. >> and it's been quite dramatic outside and patranya will fill us in on the traffic and how to get around it. that's right. it happened inside one building
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but the discovery building, as people know, maybe they have gone through the heart of downtown silver spring, it's a large complex that boarders a number of main streets through downtown silver spring. georgia avenue, colesville, wayne, this has all been effected that's why we're telling people to avoid downtown silver spring. all of the main streets are still sought down at this hour. georgia avenue right now still closed between cameron and eastern avenue. route 29 shut down between 410 and fenton. so now people are getting routed out to other side streets. 16th avenue getting a big chunk of the traffic, as well as fenton and spring street off of route 29. so folks coming in from d.c. on to silver spring, being advised to take all of the other streets and avoid the closures on georgia avenue. it's going to be a big mess out there, you'll see a lot of police cars still on the scene. a lot of traffic and officers telling people to reroute. they have detour signs up and people on the streets as well
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so be on extra alert going through the area that it will be long delays from d.c. into maryland. maybe you're taking transit, bus routes will be effected. it has been effected over the past few hours. will continue to be so on the metro line. right now the redline running as normal, but you have to go through the colesville road entrance instead of the wayne entrance. so do expect a lot of problems still going through downtown silver spring. we do have on our website all of the other roads right now in the metro d.c. area that we are keeping tabs on that for you even though we are concentrating on this issue in silver spring. back to you. you just hit one thing we wanted to talk about a little bit patranya, was the fact about the metro situation. again a lot of delays to look at. is that right patranya? >> we do have problems on the blue and yellow and orange, which has not -- which is not
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impacted by the situation in silver spring. but in silver spring the redline running as normal as far as i understand. >> but that one station closed down. >> silver spring is not closed, only the entrance -- the wayne street entrance is shut down. but the station, want to reconfirm, this is silver spring metro station is still open. >> thanks for clarifying that. patranya in the 9 news now traffic center. >> and buses normally running in that area aren't running at all because of what has been going on there and what has now concluded. it's not clear yet, because this is wrapped up in some measure, when the streets will reopen and the buses will get back out there. but at the top of the hour montgomery county police chief major spoke and this is a quick look at that. >> the suspect was spot by police officers. the device appeared to go off. we haven't confirmed that.
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as of this time we saw some smoke, may have heard a pop, but we haven't confirmed all of that information yet. the hostages -- there we three hostages. all of the hostages are safe and are out of the building. at this point, we are still -- it's still an operation -- a joint operation between the police and fire/rescue because there are other suspected devises in the building that have not been rendered safe. >> that's a brief recap of the press conference where we really started to learn that this hostage situation is winding down, that they were saying that the gunman had been shot. let's go back to derek mcginty and andrea mccarran both continuing the team coverage there from silver spring. derek. >> and we've watched this evolve from the minute we got here this afternoon. everybody in a panic not knowing what is going on. to the conclusion that you just
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saw minutes ago when the police chief came out at around 5:00 to announce the suspect had been shot and now apparently killed. but we noticed there were a lot of people in an uproar who were having a bad day around the area, and nobody more so than the folks who work in the building. and andrea mccarran has been talking with those folks ever since we arrived on the scene. andrea. >> reporter: that's correct. as soon as its discovery building was evacuated, some of the neighboring buildings were put on lockdown. that means some others couldn't leave and others couldn't get in. that left them and discovery workers who had parked in the garage simply stranded. >> reporter: otis elevator employees weekend -- were working on the 8th floor. >> we heard gunshots and so we hid and then the next thing we know the security guard came and said we had to get off the
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roof. so we did. >> we heard two gunshots and i guess they were breaking a window to go in and that was it. and then we ran back into the building. >> reporter: students at nearby everest college heard them too. >> like a -- like a high pitched pop. >> reporter: other workers were stranded in the area, the vehicles parked in the discovery channel garage. >> now you're kind of stranded here, right? >> yes. >> how come? >> because our vehicles are still in the loading dock and we can't get to them. they won't let us near the building. >> reporter: a couple ofen eck dotes that happened -- anecdotes. i heard a man calling his wife saying, no i believe my briefcase and car keys in the office and he was locked out and couldn't get in. i met another woman that gathered with a bunch of discovery channel employees at a nearby restaurant. she evacuated immediately,
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leaving her purse, wallet and cell phone inside. she had borrowed $20 from a coworker to try to make it home. derek, what else have you seen in the area? >> well what i have seen is a very strong emotional reaction to this. because itn this age of terror, we are worried this might happen to buildings at any time. you are walking out, you know you are safe and you are scared for your coworkers and your friends. people were almost in tears as they talked about how scared they were. >> and at the same time it was my understanding that when employees left the building, some of them were evacuated, they thought it might be a fire alarm and they left without being told there was a gunman in the building or a hostage. i'm also told by employees with discovery that they do regular evacuation drills and that is what one employee attributed to how smoothly everything went today. >> early this afternoon we saw this sort of -- it's kind of eerie and disheartening scene
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of them wheeling babies out of the building, what is usually busy, out of the building from the day care center and they wouldn't stop and talk to us but they were trying to get the babies out of the building making sure they're safe. you don't normally see that. >> i can't imagine what it was like for parents to come here and get their kids out. and we keep referring to this as the discovery channel headquarters, which it is, but there are several other channels in the building which were potentially involved in this scenario. tlc, animal planet, the military channels were all involved. there were three hostages. we have identity of two but we will not divulge that and they are out. >> and juliannea from discovery
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channel said we do have security and obviously when -- how can i say it -- a crazy person comes up and does that, you cannot stop that. but with no one hurt, maybe you can think that is the best you can expect. >> and as i said, discovery channel international has had regular evacuation drills as have several federal government buildings. and in this era of terrorism and crazy people walking into buildings with guns, as a gentleman did with the holocaust museum a while back, it just points to the importance in this area of having evacuation drills and people staying calm and this is not the first time in recent weeks that we've seen s.w.a.t. teams entering a building. >> and downtown here at silver spring, it is not that big of an area. half a mile from the d.c. line. there are two streets that serve this area, they are colesville road and georgia and tonight both of those streets are completely blocked off.
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i don't think any of us saw this coming. >> reporter: don't think any of us come -- i don't think we would realize. and it's been a miserable afternoon for anybody who needed to get home and go through this part of town to get home, i might be one of those people quite frankly. and it's a very difficult thing. this spreads out like ripples from the discovery building effecting the entire silver spring area. >> but we can see the redline and -- redline and that is moving but it is the bus lines that are being stymed. >> and the cars. >> and east-west highway is open. it looks to be moderate traffic but it is moving. >> so now the big question that we don't have answers to just yet, how long is the police presence going to continue? this thing is basically done as far as we know. they say they are concerned about other packages or bombs, sooner or later they'll have that taken care of.
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how long before folks can go back inside and get their belongings back and get in the garage to get their cars and get back home again. you have to wonder is that tonight or tomorrow morning, when will the police allow that to go down? >> well look at the size of the building. and as the chief said in his last briefing, they were concerned about potentially other explosive devices inside. they have to go through all of the floors with a fine tooth comb before they let anyone back in the garage or back to their offices to retrieve their belongings. >> we are seeing some movement here. if you can focus on one of the big -- i don't know if that's a s.w.a.t. or montgomery county police truck leaving there. there is some movement going on. so obviously things are shifting around. perhaps it is the beginning -- the beginning of the police beginning to de-escalate this thing. but we are still waiting to hear more from them as to when that might happen and when the people who quite frankly are still gathered -- we talked about the folks being let out, they were urged to go home. well as we said, they don't have anywhere to go and as you
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look up and down there are dozens of people who -- some of them onlookers but others saying, i can't leave. i don't have any purse. i don't have my phone or my keys. >> we're just getting pit bits and pieces -- bits and pieces of who the suspect was. he know he came in waving the gun and had a vest that had explosives strapped to it. he took three hostages. from what people are telling us on the scene, is that he's a known entity to people that work at discovery, a regular protestor. someone e-mailed me and said he is believed to be a regular here as recent as 2008 and perhaps more recently. >> there are a lot of questions that aren't going to be answered today. should somebody have seen this coming from the guy. these are questions because he is now apparently dead we may not entirely be able to answer but we'll look at this. i'm going to toss it back to the studio and anita and lesli are you there? >> yes.
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and you pointed something out that came up, we had a conversation with a forensic psychiatrist who has been on discovery. such shock that discovery would be the target because of the environmental stance on so many things and you're hearing from that people -- that from people there. and this is shocking, why pick this particular entity. >> and i think people at discovery are proud of working at an environmentally friendly place and family-oriented place and the woman i talked to said i can't believe anybody would want to hurt us. >> but keep in mind, this is not a mentally stable individual. this is somebody with a history of protesting and apparently seemed somewhat imbalanced. police did shoot him and we don't know the condition. >> no, the cbs news said he is dead. so we're going with that for now. that hasn't changed, is that correct? >> that is correct. we are getting that confirmation. >> and i apologize.
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derek and i are dividing and conquering. >> we're going to take it back up to lindsey mastis who is at the building with james lee lived and talked earlier with us about some of the folks who knew him and thought that perhaps something had gone wrong with him from some time ago. lindsey. >> reporter: well, derek, i was at the building earlier. it's a building where there are several nonprofit organizations, four in fact, that are in the building. many work with homeless. i was told by several people who used to live with him in that area that he received services there. they were very surprised and in fact they just talked with another woman who said that she knew him from around this area. they were all very surprised to hear he had gone violent and taken it to that step. they say he was very passionate about his beliefs but always very nice to them. i talked with two men earlier who described him saying that the passion that he had for this was just -- it consumed him basically and he was the
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one person they could go to to always hear the same thing about what he felt about animals and how animals were portrayed on television. now i was over at that area earlier and of course as soon as i started talking with people who knew lee, they were all ushered into the building. they're not commenting about lee or the services that he received there. now at this point, i'm out here in front of the movie theater and if you look behind me, we still have the road blocked off. this is fenton street and ellsworth drive. there is still police activity. this scene has looked pretty much the same for the past few hours. there is still a lot of people walking around, still trying to make sense of what happened today. and of course still a lot of traffic and it's pretty difficult to get through this area. but of course people are walking around talking about lee and sharing some stories, some people around here just remember him and what he did. reporting live in silver
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spring, i'm lindsey mastis, 9 news now. derek. >> i think we'll take it back for derek, lindsey. thank you for that. now we're standing by for another news conference, because, anita, we have not had montgomery county police come out and confirm that james lee is dead. we've gotten that through cbs news but we're still waiting for official word from the police entity handling the response here. >> the last time that we heard from them was almost about an hour ago, near the top of our 5:00 newscast when they felt that things were going from a negotiation standpoint to this suspect becoming more agitated, where something had changed in the negotiators view of the hostage safety. we have police spokes people coming back to the microphone and let's go ahead and listen in. >> chief major is going to address you folks. he's going to let you know what
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we know now and we can confirm. also making a statement will be david leafy, executive vice president of corporate affairs for discovery communication. chief major. >> i think most of you have the background on what occurred. we had a man come into the discovery about 1:00 this afternoon he came in with explosive devises strapped to his person. we believe that he also came in with two boxes and two backpacks that we suspect may have explosive devises in them. he pulled out a handgun and may have fire aid round when he came in. we're in the process of trying to confirm that. he told everyone to stop
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moving. several people ran out of the lobby area. in the end, he had three hostages, a security guard and two other individuals, all three male. the hostages were all male. over the course of the next several hours our trained negotiators spoke with this man. he obviously had a number of issues with discovery. he's had a history with discovery of conflict with discovery which one case resulted in his arrest a couple of years ago, right out in front of the building. as we were negotiating with him, our tactical officers were able to get into position where they were very close to him. they were watching him via
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camera and they were close enough to hear what he was saying and see what he was doing on a camera. at one point, the suspect reported that he pulled out a handgun that he came in with and pointed it at one of the hostages. it's unconfirmed whether he fired the weapon or not. at that point the tactical units moved in. they shot the suspect. the suspect is deceased. the hostages were all safely -- were able to safely get out of the building. and at this point, we still have what we believe are four
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devices -- or two boxes, two backpacks, that we have to debt -- determine whether they are explosive devices and get them removed. so the building is still a crime scene. we still have work to do. but as i said before, to our knowledge, no one aside from the suspect has been injured and the hostages were able to get out safely. >> how long do you think -- [ inaudible ] >> thanks, captain. let me say on behalf of discovery communications, thank you. thank you to law enforcement, montgomery county, fire and rescue and montgomery county police. >> you can say your name? >> david leafy from discovery communications. and i want to say thank you very much to montgomery county police and fire and rescue.
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it was a professional operation. they were in constant communication with us. they handled themselves with complete professionalism and we're relieved it ended without any harm to any of our employees. all of our employees are accounted for. and let me also say that it is the word of day, it is professionalism. a big thank you to discovery administration, human resources and security staff. we executed our emergency evacuation plan flawlessly. employees were notified to exit the building, everyone is accounted for, everyone is safe and sound and we're very, very thankful for that. so again, thank you very much. [ overlapping speakers ] >> i'm going to defer to the captain. >> we were familiar with this gentleman. he has protested discovery in the past.
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[ inaudible ] >> we have a very competent and comprehensive security team in our building 24/7 and i think after today you will see that the discovery communications staff handled themselves really brilliantly and i think part of the successes today belong to montgomery county law enforcement and fire and rescue and the fbi and also its discovery communications security staff who really handled themselves well. [ overlapping speakers ] >> can you tell us more about what his grievances were? can you tell us about the hostages? were they male or female? >> there were two employees and one security officer. i'll defer to the captain for more details. it is an on going investigation. i didn't want to characterize really the motivations of the perpetrator. if you follow what you said
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publicly online, i don't think it's rational. and we certainly were cognizant and aware of him but do not take his threats or demands seriously. >> and david, if i could just ask you, your staff said, they had a lot of communications throughout the day, the evacuation procedures was that put in place post 9/11 or because of this gentleman or why did you have the evacuation plan? >> post 9/11 we did spend time looking at continuity plans and emergency evacuation plans and so we did have those in place. we do have annual drills to go over the procedures. we have a floor captain. they were notified right away. all of the employees were secured and then with the cooperation of law enforcement we evacuated all of the employees including our on-site day care center and i think that planning really paid off today. >> can either of you tell us
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about what, if any, demands he made during the negotiations? >> most of the demands he made during our negotiations with him mirrored what he has on his website. >> could you give us his name and date of birth? >> i don't have that information. >> when he was shot, did the hostages -- did they run from the building or did you go in and -- >> it was, they were running as we were coming in. they started running, he made -- he pulled his weapon. we came in and it all happened almost simultaneously. >> was he agitated with [ inaudible ] >> at this point, we've got to question all of the hostages,
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but the hostages were -- appeared to be moving. and i don't know if that's what agitated him or not. but once we are able to interview the hostages, we may have a better idea. >> you said he picked his hostages at random out of convenience, because they were in the lobby? [ inaudible ] >> that would be my guess. because it was folks there right in the lobby that came in and i think they remained there when he started shouting. >> did he maintain position in the lobby? >> say that again. >> we will clear the whole building. now we believe that we have him tracked the entire time from the time he entered the building. through the security cameras, we're -- we feel pretty confident we know where he wept. but we'll clear that entire building before we leave. >> mr. levy what are you saying
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to workers? >> i haven't read his website, but its all on his -- i don't know if it's his myspace page or what, but he has very public information out there. >> you said the discovery channel is -- [ inaudible ] >> i have not read it. but i just know sort of generally that he had issues. [ overlapping speakers ] >> was it a real explosive? >> we believe they were. when one device detonated and i'm not sure it detonated the way he wanted it to, but a device did detonate on his person. >> were you already in when that happened in. >> i don't know. >> was in lobby -- was it in the lobby and the hostages were held in the lobby area? >> it was all on the first floor in the entrance lobby area. >> and the placing of the devices? >> i don't know the exact location of the devises. >> was its security guard armed?
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>> i don't know that. >> and you can clear up, it's said that some discovery employees stayed inside to help with the hostages. how many stayed? >> yes. there were employees in the building on the upper floors that we had made sure they were safe. >> how many do you think were still inside the building throughout the negotiations? >> no, we evacuated a number -- i would say less than ten stayed for a while to assist law enforcement navigating the building and the infrastructure and then we were all evacuated about an hour or 90 minutes into it. >> what are you saying to the workers hanging around here saying we can't get to our purses or our cars. >> well as the captain said, it's still an active crime scene so people have to be patient. but our hope and expectation is tomorrow morning we'll be open for business and

9 News Now at 5pm
CBS September 1, 2010 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY James Lee 10, Georgia 8, Derek 6, Ellsworth 4, Mr. Lee 4, Lindsey 3, Derek Mcginty 3, Lesli 2, Tlc 2, Brett Haber 2, Lee 2, Fenton 2, Bruce Johnson 2, Julian 1, Columbia Pike 1, Colesville Road 1, Filthy 1, Gary Nuremburg 1, Thru 1, Pop 1
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